In 2018, our new Life Biography Service for patients was launched. We now offer the opportunity for patients to tell their story and have it recorded for their loved ones. Our biographers are trained volunteers who allow our patients to reflect and prompt memories of their lives.
We interviewed one of your new volunteer biographers, Alex Madden, to find out what it is all about.
Why did you decide to volunteer for the Life Biography Service?
I have been looking for an opportunity to give something back to the community. When I read that Rotorua Hospice was setting up a Life Biography Service, I thought it would be most worthwhile giving patients the opportunity to share and reflect on important moments in their lives. It is a privilege to have their trust.
What is the Life Biography Service all about?
When a person is facing their own mortality, it is often a time they contemplate their life, joys, sorrows, achievements etc. This is where the Life Biography Service can assist patients to reflect and talk about things that are important to them. The biographer records their stories and faithfully transcribes them in the patient’s own words. If they wish, their story can be produced into a booklet which they can share with their families.
How do you think patients and their whānau might benefit?
The benefit to the patient is giving them a voice, especially as so much of their time and energy is spent in looking after their physical health. It also provides an opportunity to bring the patient and their family and whānau closer together, to share the stories and acknowledge the patient’s life and contribution. In some cases some of these stories have never been heard before. Because the booklet is produced in the patient’s own words, it is authentic.
What are you looking forward to most about being a volunteer with Rotorua Hospice?
It will be humbling to have patients place their trust in me and open up and share their life stories. I think I will receive a lot more than I give.